Two trades in two seasons later, Jimmy Butler lastly performed a star’s position for a contender as a member of the Philadelphia 76ers. They got here up simply quick, however Butler did all he might.

A four-headed beast of Butler, Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, and Tobias Harris performed only a half season collectively. They have been then knocked out within the convention semifinals by a Recreation 7 Kawhi Leonard buzzer-beater. Enjoying for a profitable crew had been a precedence for Butler, and this was his finest likelihood to see one via.

Placing that crew collectively was a rushed try by the 76ers to compete for a title, and it got here with large dangers. Butler’s expiring contract was one in every of them. Now, he’s an unrestricted free agent, in a position to signal anyplace he pleases.

No person appears to know the place that may be.

The most recent rumors

Butler’s free company had been largely a thriller till rumors surfaced that the Rockets might lure him in by way of a sign-and-trade. How that’d work — and if the Sixers can be keen to assist Houston make the transfer — is unclear, however it’s essentially the most lively buzz surrounding his future. The Sixers nonetheless need to deliver Butler again and might provide him a fifth yr, however no one is aware of what he’s pondering simply but.

How did we get right here?

Butler was traded from the Chicago Bulls, the crew that drafted him, in the summertime of 2017 because the crew went right into a rebuild. Butler based the “Timberbulls” assortment of former Bulls to play in Minnesota beneath former Chicago coach Thibodeau. That crew — which included Taj Gibson and Derrick Rose — made the playoffs for the primary time in 13 seasons, however misplaced to the Rockets within the opening spherical of the playoffs, 4-1. They weren’t a championship roster.

That led Butler to request a commerce that the Timberwolves didn’t honor till after the 2018-19 season began. That didn’t sit nicely with the all-star, so he made one of the vital dramatic stands ever. The saga hit its peak in the course of the preseason, when the guard took heart stage at a apply, ran a scrimmage with the crew’s third-string gamers, and yelled “You (bleeping) need me. You can’t win without me” at Thibodeau and basic supervisor Scott Layden. The day concluded with a sit-down interview with ESPN’s Rachel Nichols, throughout which Butler laid out his damaged relationship with the Wolves.

That day ended any hopes that Minnesota might maintain onto Butler, and he was traded weeks later to the Sixers.

In Philly, Butler performed a pacesetter’s position because the crew’s most senior star, and commanded the crunch-time moments regardless of early friction with Embiid and Simmons. He sunk two buzzer-beaters within the first seven video games together with his new crew, and continued on to complete second on the crew in scoring per evening. Within the playoffs, Butler was debatably the crew’s finest participant, however they fell quick to the eventual champions on Leonard’s last-second shot.

Is understanding that the Sixers have been that near to the Finals sufficient to maintain him again, or is there a clearer path to a title elsewhere? Butler’s free company is a thriller.

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